6 Jul 2015

Flintoff off the booze to ward off depression

8:15 am on 6 July 2015

Popular former England cricket captain Andrew Flintoff, whose image as a heavy, fun-loving drinker was sealed by his animated victory celebrations, has opened up about now being teetotal as part of his battle with depression.

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff.

Former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff. Photo: Photosport

Flintoff was famously pictured looking the worse for wear on an open top bus tour through London and at a Downing Street reception after England had beaten Australia to win the 2005 Ashes series.

But on the eve of the start of this year's series, Flintoff has told the BBC's Desert Island Discs radio programme that the days when he inspired team mates by dancing naked to Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire were now consigned to the past.

The retired all-rounder, who played in 79 tests for England and is now a 37-year-old father of three and a regular guest on TV shows, talked about struggling with depression, his decision to stop drinking and his devotion to family life.

Flintoff said he stopped the all-night drinking bouts after making a documentary about depression in sport in 2012.

"It's not so much the drinking, it's actually the reasons why you are drinking.

"When you are drinking because you are trying to get away from something I think that is when you have got to look at everything," he remarked.

"One of the reasons I probably stopped drinking is that I am prone to suffer from depression. Drinking doesn't help one bit. I don't touch it now."

He realised his drinking had started to become a problem when he was sacked as England vice-captain in 2007 after getting drunk and into difficulties after taking a pedal boat out to sea in St Lucia following a World Cup defeat.