The heavy workload required of England-qualified seamers is compromising their ability to bowl at high pace, according to Kevin Shine.

Shine, the ECB's lead fast bowling coach, has defended his record of developing and protecting fast bowlers and suggested that any lack of pace in the England attack when compared with the quickest bowlers from other nations is due almost entirely to the draining schedule with which they are confronted.

While England's two leading seamers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, have both enjoyed outstanding years in Test cricket and are currently rated No. 2 and No. 4 respectively in the ICC's rankings, there have been times - such as at Lord's or in Abu Dhabi - when they have been confronted by flat wickets which have negated their skills. At such times, the relative lack of pace in England's attack has been shown up by the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Wahab Riaz.

But, according to Shine, England's bowlers enter the professional game capable of bowling as fast as those from any other nation, but are forced to bowl within themselves due to their schedule.

"It is a workload thing," Shine told ESPNcricinfo. "When you see bowlers come in to the game they are fresh, they are firing and eventually time takes its toll.

"Our bowlers bowl an awful lot. Our bowlers bowl more than any other bowlers in the world.

"We know from the testing we do and the speeds we get, that we can compete [with other nations] at high pace. But to sustain that is really tough, so we work a lot on our skills, knowing that we have fall backs if the pace falls off a bit. We look at seam positions, we work on reverse swing and wobble seam. We have got pace, but doing it day-in, day-out is very, very tough.

"They are probably capable of short spells of getting up to that 90mph mark, but once again there is a huge cost of doing that day in and day out. Our bowlers carry injuries. They bowl in pain at times. And that's part and parcel of the fast bowler's job."

The long-term figures support Shine's stance. No bowler, either spinner or seamer, has bowled as many overs across the three international formats as Anderson since the start of 2012 or 2013, at which point Broad moves to second on the list. And while Sri Lanka's left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has bowled the most since the start of 2014, Broad and Anderson remain the two busiest seamers.

The stats are especially stark when it comes to comparing workloads in Test cricket. Since the start of 2012, for example, Anderson has bowled 1821.4 overs across 47 Tests. Dale Steyn, by contrast, has bowled 1081.3 overs across 31 Tests and Mitchell Johnson 854.1 across 25 Tests.

Shine also insists that the ECB coaches at the centre at excellence at Loughborough deserve credit for the return to form of Steven Finn and the sustained performance of Broad and Anderson. While the ECB has been accused of meddling in the actions of several bowlers and, as a consequence, diminishing their performance, Shine says that quite the opposite is the case.

"It was Loughborough that suggested that Jimmy Anderson, who had been through a re-model, went back to being natural," Shine said. "At 18, Broad was in a dangerous position. We put the information to him and he decided to make some changes. And with Finn, we knew when he shortened his run that there were issues with that and we've been able to help return him to better form.

"Fast bowling is a very individual thing. One size doesn't fit all. We don't try to change bowlers, but if we see a bowler who is likely to get hurt or who wants to add some pace, we will put that information to them and to suggest changes. It is always up to the bowler.

"I'm pretty sure that, in the last six or seven years, I've not recommended any major changes to any bowlers."

They were words supported by Middlesex seamer James Harris. Harris was widely reported as having criticised Loughborough last summer, but insists now that his words were misrepresented.

"It's true that I went to Loughborough in an attempt to find some extra pace," Harris told ESPNcricinfo. "But it was very much my choice to do it.

"I changed my action in search of that pace and, to some extent, I found it. But it came at a cost and I concluded that whatever benefits I made weren't worth the loss of wrist position and movement that I suffered as a consequence.

"It was reported as if I was slagging off the ECB, but really I was just saying that I had tried something and it hadn't worked. The whole process was consensual."

Among the fast bowlers currently working at Loughborough are Jamie Overton, Tymal Mills and, intriguingly, Stuart Meaker. Meaker featured in only three Championship games for Surrey last season, but remains the fastest England-qualified bowler measured at the ECB's centre of excellence. In recent weeks, he has been timed within 1mph of his top speed.