Former England captain Andrew Flintoff has revealed how feelings of depression left him "at an all-time low" during the 2006/07 Ashes series in Australia.
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 the whitewash Down Under, when the urn won in 2005 was given up before Christmas.
"On the 2006/07 Ashes trip, I was probably at an all-time low both personally and professionally," Flintoff reveals in the programme. "It was hard for me to speak about it to people, even in the dressing room. I was supposed to be this character who was unflappable."
He added: "I was having a drink with my dad 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 that I couldn't do it any more, I couldn't keep playing. We talked and I dusted myself down and carried on. But I was never the same player again.
"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.
"I didn't read any of the press (about the pedalo incident) and I'm glad, because I was feeling so low that if I'd read that at the time it might have tipped me over the edge.
"One of the things that stuck out was the disappointment people had in me, the feeling I'd let people down. That doesn't just mean my team-mates and my coach - your family are reading that, my mum's read it, my nan's read it. (It's) a feeling of embarrassment and shame."