In 2010 Ambrose admitted that he didn’t care about his county contract any more
Former England wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose has publicly revealed that his battle with depression nearly ended his professional career.
Ambrose, currently 29, represented England in 11 Tests , five ODIs and one Twenty20 International, and admitted that he had lost “all direction” and believed that his international career was all but over after he failed to keep his international cricketing dreams alive in 2010.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Telegraph, Ambrose said: “I was awake 24 hours a day, with things going around in my head, 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 the perfect start to his international career for England in 2007, when he scored 55 in his first Test at Hamilton against New Zealand, which was followed by a brilliant maiden century in the next Test at Wellington that allowed England to come back and level the series.
Ambrose then featured in 10 consecutive Test matches for England, but the run would not continue as he was dropped for the 2008 series against South Africa, and since then he has only played one Test match, which came against the West Indies in Barbados when Matt Prior flew back home to witness the birth of his first child.
Even though Ambrose made an unbeaten 76 in that match against the West Indies, he was never considered for the England squad again.
“I’ve had issues from a long time back, 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,” Ambrose said.
In 2010, Ambrose took some time off from playing cricket and went to speak to a psychologist about his depression.
“I thought that was it, my contract was up at the end of the season, and, if I’m honest, I didn’t care,” he explained.
However, things soon changed for Ambrose as he was given a contract from Warwickshire in 2011, and just this year alone, he has scored 623 first class runs at an average of 44.50 for the county champions.
“It is an ongoing process. I still have the odd little issue, but now I have the armoury of knowledge. When little things start to happen I can arrest them straight away,” Ambrose said.
Ambrose has now joined former England players Marcus Trescothick and Michael Yardy in a campaign launched by the Professional Cricketers’ Association, called Mind Matters, which helps cricketers deal with anxiety and depression.
“You’re not a freak or a weirdo, 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,” Ambrose added.