England news September 14, 2012

Ambrose reveals depression battle

ESPNcricinfo staff

Tim Ambrose, the former England wicketkeeper, has revealed his battle against depression that almost ended his professional career.

Ambrose, 29, who played 11 Tests , five ODIs and a T20 for England, has spoken openly about achieving his life-long ambition of playing international cricket was followed by him losing "all direction" and believing his career was over in 2010.

"I was awake 24 hours a day, with things going around in my head," he told the Daily Telegraph. "I was beyond miserable. It felt like I had this duvet that was soaking wet wrapped around me, and I couldn't get it off."

Ambrose made his debut for England against New Zealand in 2007-08 and began very successfully with 55 in his first Test at Hamilton followed by a maiden century in the next match at Wellington which helped England level the series. He played 10 consecutive Tests before being dropped after the 2008 series against South Africa and only played once more, against West Indies in Barbados when Matt Prior flew home for the birth of his child, although he scored an unbeaten 76.

"I've had issues from a long time back," he explaineds, "But it was an underlying thing that was easy to distract from. Since I was 15 years old my goal was to play international cricket. That's all I wanted to do. Whenever anything got tough I could always focus back on to that end goal. Once I'd reached that goal and walked away I lost all direction. I thought, 'Why am I going to play cricket every day?' 

"You don't want your team-mates to know you are struggling with something. But at the same time it gets to the point where you can't hide those things any longer."

During the 2010 season Ambrose approached a psychologist and he took time out of the game before briefly returning for a match against Nottinghamshire where he bagged a pair. "I thought that was it," he said. "My contract was up at the end of the season, and, if I'm honest, I didn't care."

However, Warwickshire offered him a one-year contract for the 2011 season and this year he has scored 623 first-class runs at 44.50 for the Championship-winning team.

"It is an ongoing process. I still have the odd little issue," he said. "But now I have the armoury of knowledge. When little things start to happen I can arrest them straight away."

Ambrose will help front a campaign by the Professional Cricketers' Association, called Mind Matters, to help educate players on depression and anxiety. It will also feature Marcus Trescothick and Michael Yardy.

"You're not a freak or a weirdo," Ambrose said. "Depression is more common than you'd ever know. Just because of what we do doesn't mean we don't need help. It can happen to anyone."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 15, 2012, 2:29 GMT

    For those of us that don't have to deal with depression we will never ever understand what people like Tim Ambrose and Marcus Trescothick and others still in not ready to accept and seek help go though. The very fact they come forward should be a great example for young cricketers to know that they are just like us regular folks and the sooner they accept and seek help the better their lives, let alone cricket, will be.

  • Mark on September 14, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    In regards to people asking 'why is it England players', O'd suggest that it is more likely that sufferers from other nations haven't come forwards like these guys have. It's no stigma on them by any means, but there has been a lot of work going into getting people to understand depression in the UK and this perhaps could be the reason why more people feel comfortable coming out with it then elsewhere.

  • John on September 14, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    Good on you Tim - I know depression is an illness but positives can only help and I'm sure winning the CC and possibly doing a double with the CB40 can only be a good thing

  • Manjunath on September 14, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    What is this with England and the depression battle? First we had Trescothik, and than Yardy and now Tim Ambrose. Its such a shame that players from england go through this.

  • A on September 14, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    Oh, not Curtly? Oh. I hope things are alright in England. First Trescothick now Tim Ambrose. Why the depression?

  • David on September 14, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    Very brave of Tim to speak openly about his problems. This can only help other sufferers as depression still carries a stigma in some circles. Also well done to the PCA for getting involved with their initiative.

  • parag on September 14, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    thanks Ambrose for sharing this. Many people go through it and don't even avail the help. All the best to you and all others who face this challenge

  • Vikram on September 14, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    What is with English cricketers and depression? Is it the system, or peer pressure or something else that is unique to them that causes it?

  • Dummy4 on September 14, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    Well, that's *one* mystery explained, then: I'd always felt it bizarre that a keeper as brilliant as Ambrose had, without explanation, missed so many matches for Warwickshire over the past three or four years. Admitting to such a condition takes immense courage, so kudos both to Tim as well as to the Warwickshire management for not turning their backs on him. Let's hope his battle is successful & that he can grace Edgbaston with his elegant batting & his wonderful keeping for many years to come.

  • Anand on September 14, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Truely he is a gentlemen to speak from his heart..

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