Sam Curran spearheads a group of four Surrey players who have been included in England’s provisional squad to defend their World T20 crown next month.

The 25-year-old all-rounder was player of the tournament when the title was won in Australia 18 months ago and since then he has had an almost exclusive diet of short-form cricket, which includes involvement in the current Indian Premier League (IPL).

Curran will be joined in the West Indies and USA by county colleagues Will Jacks, Chris Jordan and Reece Topley in the provisional group named. They will also fight out a short T20I series against Pakistan on home turf, starting on May 22.

Changes can be made to the provisional squads until May 25.

England will be aiming to make a much better fist of defending the World T20 than they did last autumn when they arrived in India as holders of the 50-over World Cup, bombing so badly that their participation in the next one looked in doubt at one stage.

Left-arm seamer Topley arrived at the last World T20 as one of the main planks of their bowling attack only to roll an ankle while training and being forced home. Curran took advantage of his absence to shine on the global stage.

Jacks’ explosive talents have been on show at the IPL – forming a potentially explosive top four with Phil Salt, Harry Brook, skipper Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow – which were underlined by smashing 100 in 41 balls for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL recently.

Jordan’s recall, having been absent since last September, owed much to success in Australia’s Big Bash League last winter, his all-round knowhow born of 88 T20I caps key in the latter stages of matches. But his selection also means Surrey will need to nominate a new T20 captain given he will miss much of the Vitality Blast campaign, which launches later this month.

Surrey have enjoyed a week off after two wins out of four in the Vitality County Championship, as they seek a hat-trick of titles.

Being out of action means they lost joint leadership of Division One but they start against Warwickshire at the Kia Oval on Friday (May 10) just three points off the summit, early pace-setters Essex suffering a three-wicket defeat by Somerset at Taunton. Essex lead by three points with Somerset two points behind them.

Surrey hope to include Sean Abbott for the first time this season, the Australian all-rounder having played a leading part in winning the title last year. Fourth-placed Warwickshire will be aiming to win at The Oval for the first time since 2012.

Club chairman Oli Slipper told the club’s annual general meeting last week that he held “very positive” talks with director of cricket Alec Stewart – who is due to stand down later this year – about remaining with Surrey in a reduced capacity.

Stewart has previously said he will be available to support the club after he steps down at the end of the year.

By Richard Spiller