Ben Stokes: ‘It’s like you’re a glass bottle, holding everything in. Eventually, it smashes’

The England Test captain talks exclusively to Ali Martin about a new documentary, experiencing panic attacks, coping with grief and wanting to walk away from cricket

Ben Stokes sits in the bathroom of a Nottingham hotel, unable to breathe. It is 6am, the morning after a match in the Hundred last year, and he is having a panic attack. It is not the first. He phones his agent, Neil Fairbrother, whose wife, Audrey, tries to calm him down. But all three know greater help is required.

It’s fair to say this was not in the script; not for Stokes, the dirt-stained warrior who 18 months earlier had almost single-handedly delivered World Cup glory at Lord’s and then felled Australia at Headingley with one of the greatest Ashes innings. And not for the makers of a documentary about the 31-year-old’s life and career, which began filming shortly after he found himself in this intensely dark place.

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