The past two years, since the appointment of Chris Gayle as captain and Australian John Dyson as head coach, has been a period of occasional promise frequently interrupted by a return to disappointment.
A test win over South Africa in Port Elizabeth in December 2007, hinted at progress but the series was lost 2-1 and then a poor tour of England, lost 3-0, followed.
Back in the Caribbean, West Indies had an encouraging two test, 1-1, drawn series against Sri Lanka before hosting Australia.
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West Indies had sessions where they troubled the world's top ranked side and they were increasingly competitive but still lost the three-test series 2-0.
Most recently they were more resilient in their rain-afflicted, drawn two tests in New Zealand but this series is the key test of just how far Dyson and Gayle have taken the team.
"It is like (US president Barack) Obama, you set up your administration, you get a certain honeymoon period but then you have to get down to work and there comes a time when you want to see results," said Richards.