Andrew Flintoff has revealed the emptiness he felt as captain of the England cricket team after losing the Ashes five years ago.
In an upcoming BBC programme entitled Freddie Flintoff: Hidden Side Of Sport, the 34-year-old will investigate the mental health problems suffered by top sportsmen. Flintoff talks about his own struggles during England's tour of Australia in 2006/7, when the tourists suffered an Ashes whitewash and had lost the urn before Christmas.
Quoted on the Daily Mail website, Flintoff said: "I was having a quiet drink with my dad Colin on Christmas Eve 2006 and as we made our way home I started crying my eyes out. I told him I'd tried my best but I couldn't do it any more, I couldn't keep playing. We talked and, of course, I dusted myself down and carried on. But I was never the same player."
In further extracts from the programme, Flintoff said: "I was captain of England and financially successful. Yet instead of walking out confidently to face Australia in one of the world's biggest sporting events, I didn't want to get out of bed, never mind face people."
Flintoff also talked about his problems with alcohol at the 2007 World Cup, during which time he lost the England vice-captaincy because of the infamous incident in which he took a late night trip in the Caribbean Sea in a pedalo.
He said: "The whole time I was on the field and throughout that World Cup all I could think about was that I wanted to retire.
"I didn't understand what was happening to me. I knew when I got back to my room I couldn't shut off, which is why I started having a drink. It got to the stage where I was probably drinking more than I should."
He continued: "All I wanted was for the doctor to tell me what was wrong but no one suggested it was depression."
The careers of a number of high-profile cricketers have been affected by depression in recent years, including England internationals Marcus Trescothick, Michael Yardy and Matthew Hoggard.