England Tests captain Ben Stokes has revealed how he was crippled by panic attacks during a near career-ending mental health crisis.
The new skipper has opened up about the challenges he faces including the death of his father, assault charges following an altercation in Bristol and relentless pressure to perform.
The England and Durham all-rounder will be featured in an Amazon Prime Video documentary, with interviews by award-winning director and cricketer enthusiast Sam Mendes.
England Test captain Ben Stokes opens up about his mental health in new Prime Video documentary
In the film, England bowler, Stuart Broad reveals he feared Stokes would not play again after his team-mate suffered a mental health crisis, which caused him to take a break from the game in July 2021.
“I never thought I would feel like I do now,” Stokes told Mendes in an interview during the cricketer’s recovery, which is featured in a trailer for the film, released today. today. “My anxiety exploded. You’re sitting on your hotel room toilet and having a massive panic attack.
The film crew captured Stokes’ most personal and difficult moments, including his last visit to see his terminally ill father, Ged, in New Zealand. Her father died in December 2020 from brain cancer.
Stokes inherited Joe Root’s captaincy as England won just one win in 17 matches
Ged was also interviewed for the documentary in which he explains that his illness means “you just don’t know if you’ll be the same person when you wake up the next day”.
England staff reveal how the cricketer was in tears, couldn’t get his words out and struggled to breathe before taking a post-match mental health break after making his 100th appearance for the ODI for his country.
“I could have seen him never play again,” said Broad, who has 537 Test wickets in 152 matches.
And England fast bowler Jofra Archer adds: “This experience would have shattered lesser mortals.”
The film follows the ups and downs of Stokes’ career, including the death of his father, Ged
Among the low points of Stokes’ extraordinary career was his arrest after a late-night incident in Bristol in September 2017. He then missed an Ashes tour that winter before being cleared of a brawl.
But the documentary will also trace the high points of Stokes’ life as a cricketer, including his heroic and winning performance at the 2019 Cricket World Cup, in which he scored 84, before beating in the super decisive over.
The film also includes Stokes’ innings in the third Test at Headingley of the Ashes series against Australia in 2019, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time.
And it features some of the game’s greats, including the late Shane Warne and former England captain Joe Root.
“Fans love game winners,” said Warne, who died in March at the age of 52. “He’s unleashed.”
Shane Warne appears in film about Stokes, saying ‘fans love game winners’
“Not many people get to see the best of him, but I’m very grateful that I did,” adds Root, who preceded Stokes as the country’s Test skipper and is a great friend of Stokes.
In a touching scene, the Stokes children say their father is ‘the best cricketer alive’.
Stokes was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, before moving to England aged 12, growing up in Cockermouth in Cumbria.
The all-access film follows Stokes as a child, when the young cricketer’s teammates nicknamed him “beast” for his never-say-die attitude. And in one clip, as the cameras follow him around Cockermouth, he remarks: ‘I had a fight with him when I was growing up.
Stokes took a mental health break from the game last summer, but last month was named England captain and he told Mendes he was now better equipped to deal with the pressures he is under. confronted with.
In a moving clip, the Stokes children say their dad is “the best cricketer in the world!”
“I went through my career fearing failure,” he says. “Rather than fear failure…accept it.”
Mendes, who has won numerous awards for a string of blockbuster films including American Beauty, Skyfall, Specter and 1917, was surprised at how open Stokes was during the three interviews he conducted with him.
“When they asked me to be on this great documentary, it took me about ten seconds to say yes,” Mendes said.
“There are a lot of mysteries around Ben Stokes and a lot of questions I wanted to ask. To my amazement, he answered all of them.
Award-winning director and cricket fan Sam Mendes interviewed Ben Stokes
“I’ve always been a fan of Ben as a cricketer – how not to be, if you’re a fan of sport at the highest level – but now my admiration extends far beyond the boundaries of cricket. .”
At the film’s launch event, Stokes said, “One thing I want to try to do with this is get a side to people that’s quite hard to do in the image we give on television.
“Certain aspects in the media, you have to do them in a certain way, get them across in a certain way, appeal to a certain number of people, whereas for that I don’t feel like I have to do that.”
“I still think it’s crazy sitting here that there’s a documentary going on about me. And then on top of that Sam came in to do the interviews. The whole thing is a crazy experience that I owe still thinking.
The film is the latest in a series of hard-hitting documentaries screened on Prime Video, which include The Test, Rooney, Arsene Wenger: Invincible and the All or Nothing series.
Ben Stokes: Phoenix from the Ashes, directed by Chris Grubb and Luke Mellows, will premiere exclusively on Prime Video later this year.