London: Former England captain Andrew Flintoff has revealed that he was so crippled by despair that he lost his joy for cricket during his side`s 0-5 thrashing by Australia in the 2006-07 Ashes.
Flintoff, who skippered England in the whitewash in Australia, said he burst into tears and turned to drinking after the humiliating Ashes loss.
"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," said Flintoff.
"On the 2006/07 Ashes trip, I was probably at an all-time low both personally and professionally. 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," Flintoff said in the programme Freddie Flintoff: Hidden Side Of Sport to be shown on BBC One on January 11.
"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 anymore, I couldn`t keep playing. I was never the same player again," he said.
Flintoff retired from Test cricket in 2009 with a batting average of 31 and bowling mark of 32, figures many experts felt failed to reflect his immense natural talent.
He was forced to retire from all forms of the game the following year because of persistent injuries.
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 he wanted to retire during the World Cup.
"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," he said.
"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. All I wanted was for the doctor to tell me what was wrong but no one suggested it was depression."
Flintoff said he did not read the pedalo incident in the newspapers but felt "shame" that his near and dear ones would have been disappointed by his act.
"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," he said.
"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."