Years ago, when New Zealand hosted the Rugby World Cup, the English rugby team trained at the same Les Mills gym I belong to.
As I did my workout and they did theirs, I noticed that instead of putting their weights back on the rack after they'd finished using them, they'd just leave them at their feet for someone else to pick up and put away.
There was no wiping down of the benches after they'd been lying their big sweaty carcasses on them – absolutely no thought or recognition that they were part of a wider community, all using the same space.
There were mutterings among those of us who had a basic understanding of gym etiquette, and as I left the gym I said to one lunk, who was about to walk away from the weights he'd left scattered on the floor: "You might like to put those back seeing as your nanny isn't here to do it for you."
He looked at me blankly and kept walking, as did I.
That kind of arrogance isn't unusual among talented sportspeople who play codes that are enormously popular in their own countries. And we saw it again this week when visiting Pakistani cricketers flouted the Health Department rules around staying in managed isolation.
One day into their two-week quarantine, they were mingling with one another in corridors, sharing food and refusing to wear masks when they left their rooms despite being told to do so by security staff.
Yes, I accept there is no clear and present danger to the public at large – but the rules are there, they were accepted by the Pakistani cricket team as a condition of touring here, and if everybody else has to obey them the cricketers should too.
They were given a final warning – and that prompted a most unusual outburst from Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistani cricket great.
The New Zealand cricket board, he said on his You Tube channel, should not treat the Pakistani cricket team like a club team.
Pakistan didn't need New Zealand, he went on, and they should remember they were talking about Pakistan – the greatest country in the world – and the New Zealand cricket authorities should behave themselves and stop making the sorts of statements they were making – presumably he meant the threats to send players home if they broke the rules again.
It really was most odd. The greatest country in the world…? Really, Shoaib? Would we really say that? I love a good bit of old-fashioned jingoism as much as the next girl but come on.
Let's look at cricket, shall we? In test rankings, Aussie is number one, New Zealand two and Pakistan – where's Pakistan? Seventh. ODIs? New Zealand is third, Pakistan sixth. It's only in the T20s that P comes before N in the rankings – Pakistan 4th to our 6th. So yeah. We'll give you that one, Shoaib.
And when we look at the Bloomberg rankings of the best countries to be in the coronavirus era – where the virus has been handled most effectively with the least amount of disruption to business and society – who came out top there? New Zealand did, that's who. Marginally ahead of Japan, and streets ahead of Pakistan which came in at number 27 out of the 53 countries Bloomberg looked at.
So the greatest country in the world…? Yeah, nah, Shoaib. I can't even imagine the teeth-grinding frustration of the farming sector, the hospitality sector, those wanting the return of international students, other sporting codes – they're all desperate for dispensations to the border rules to allow the people they need for survival into the country. And here's cricket being able to continue to ply its trade pretty much as normal and you get players sticking two fingers to the rules and behaving like spoilt, over-indulged, under-developed idiots.
There should be no more warnings. The next time a cricketer from whatever country breaks the rules, however minor the infraction might be, send them home.
And in their place, let in a shearer or a harvester driver or a chef – someone who is far more useful than a pampered Pakistani playboy, who just happens to be handy with a ball or a bat.