It was a scenario Graeme Swann and England team-mate Stuart Broad were unlikely to be expecting. It was certainly not one Notts fans had foreseen.

Leading the County Championship with three wins and a draw from their first four matches, all looked rosy for the reigning Division One champions.

And with off-spinner Swann and paceman Broad given permission by the ECB to play in two four-day matches, the common assumption was that the green and golds would consolidate and strengthen that position.

But things have not panned out like that at all. Rather than kick on, Notts have surprisingly faltered.

A defeat inside three days on the south coast against Sussex was followed by another emphatic reversal, this time on home soil, against Warwickshire.

For their part, Swann and Broad looked a little ring-rusty in those matches, not surprising considering their respective rest periods.

But Swann is convinced both players will be ready for action when they don England colours once more for the first Test of the summer, which gets underway against Sri Lanka at Cardiff tomorrow.

And the former Northants man is also confident Notts' recent woes will be temporary rather than long-standing.

"I could have done with a bit more bowling and there is always a danger that you don't get to bowl that much as a spinner," said Swann.

"I only bowled seven overs in the Warwickshire match – and that's why I was out there practicing afterwards.

"But I was pretty happy with the way I bowled in the first innings down at Hove, where I had a good work-out.

"I don't think it would have been right to play in any more games because I needed the break after the winter. But I know that, come tomorrow morning, I will be ready.

"Broady is feeling his way back in after his injuries (abdominal strain and broken rib) and the most important thing is he has come through without any problems.

"He's still searching for a rhythm, which is important for a fast bowler, but I'm sure he will be fine.

"It would have been nice to play two games where we didn't lose, but it has not been a case of a lack of motivation at all.

"You are playing with your best mates and for your county – you want to do well."

Swann has few doubts where things have gone wrong for Notts over the past couple of weeks.

He has confidence in the ability of his county colleagues to rediscover their best form ahead of Sunday's visit to Worcestershire.

Swann said: "We started very well and then we have had a bit of a setback.

"But the lads just have to put that behind them now and move on because there is an awful lot of cricket still to play.

"The simple reason we lost the games is that we batted poorly in the first innings in both. That didn't give us much to bowl at.

"Paul Franks and Adam Voges showed the way to go with their application (putting on 174 against Warwickshire) that we do have players who can get the runs.

"I'm sure Mick (Newell) will get the team going again because he is a top man and a very good coach."

Notts were not helped last week by the absence of Samit Patel to face Warwickshire, who was playing for England Lions.

He underlined his class with a first innings century – his second of the summer – that illustrates why he is in the national selectors' thinking this summer.

"Samit has always been there or thereabouts but he's had a few other issues to overcome and I'm not sure where he's at with his fitness," said Swann.

"As soon as that is in place he will be a strong contender for the one-dayers.

"He's got a great deal of talent and should be setting his sights on the Test team, too."

The Lions were eventually beaten by the touring Sri Lankans at Derby after a second innings batting collapse.

Swann believes Tillakaratne Dilshan's side will prove a significant obstacle in trying to back up this winter's momentous 3-1 Ashes win.

He said: "I haven't really seen too much of Sri Lanka since they have been over here because I have been busy playing myself.

"But I'm expecting Sri Lanka to be a very competitive side against us.

"We have made the statement of wanting to become the No.1 Test playing nation in the world and the only way we can do that is by continuing to win series.

"Certainly, it would be very dangerous to look forward to the India series before we have completed this one."

Matt Halfpenny is the Midlands Sports Journalist of the year and follows Nottinghamshire for the Nottingham Post.