The England cricket team arrived in Basseterre, St Kitts on Wednesday for a tour of the West Indies that will see them play four Tests, a Twenty20 International and five one-day internationals.
Not too long ago England-West Indies matches were the pinnacle of international cricket but now with the hectic FTP and the advent of the IPL not to mention ECB squabbles, this series is little more than a pre-Ashes filler.
Although it would be easy to blame the 'alphabet soup' of acronyms, the declining status of the Wisden Trophy is all about the West Indies and their slump from undisputed world beaters to a team who are pretty handy in the one-day game but in Tests are as spineless as a jellyfish you might find off one of Antigua's 365 beaches. The WIndies are the 'New' New Zealand.
But for 16 years England failed to win a Test in the West Indies, the days of a certain Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards dispatching bowlers to all parts of the Caribbean (and often beyond), Clive Hubert Lloyd flourishing the long handle, Richie Rich and Gus Logie hooking merrily in their floppy sunhats and a battery of fast bowlers all seemingly equally capable of releasing the ball at over 90mph, more often than not reaching the batsman at oesophagus height.
Of course we saw them over here - although the Beeb did have a great knack of going to the news with Moira Stewart or taking trips to Haydock Park at inopportune moments, often on returning from the Monk D'Wally de Honk Juvenile Stakes, England had slumped from 80-0 to 83-9 and the opener was en-route to the local infirmary - but their mythology was only increased as the days of live televised overseas Tests were still far away.
Indeed, kids, whilst now pretty much every international match is live - even the Kiwis v Bangladesh in Dunedin when 70 per cent of the crowd need to go off to shearing the next day - in the mid-Eighties Ashes highlights were shown 12 hours after stumps, often followed by Kick Start.
Naturally the Channel Nine 'duck' was the talk of playgrounds nation wide and I challenge TV executives to produce a better hour of television than something presented by Richie Bernaud followed by something presented by Peter Purves; but it wasn't quite the same.
Live overseas Test cricket was restricted to page 341 of Ceefax and TMS, leaving the legacy of those great West Indies teams destroying the English on their own patch restricted to grainy pictures. The 'greatest over in the history of Test cricket' - Mikey Holding to Geoff Boycott at Kensington Oval in 1981 - was shown from long-on; then there was ITN footage of Mike Gatting walking through an airport terminal after having his nose spread quite generously across his face by a vicious bouncer from Malcolm Marshall. And who of those who saw it could forget Ian Botham drinking a glass of Red Stripe he'd been passed in the field.
But that all changed in 1990 when the British public were finally granted a live Test series and, although it may seem odd now in these days of saturated coverage, it was a big thing.
The first Test was at Sabina Park - which is only a mile and a half west of Trenchtown - and the aerial shots of the shanty towns would have looked very familiar for those watching from a Middlesbrough sink estate. But for the rest of us it was decidely exotic.
On that day in Jamaica were the first signs that West Indies cricket was about to ride a crest of a slump that has now lasted the best part of 20 years. However they were not immediately apparent to those who had left work early with mysterious yeast infections to see the great opening partnership of Dessie Haynes and Gordon Greenidge put on 62 without trouble.
But then Devon Malcolm, in just his second Test, unleashed a missile of a throw from fine leg to run out Greenidge before David Capel - aka the new Ian Botham IV - nipped in with two quick wickets (which incidently formed around 10 per cent of his final career haul), Malcolm trapped Richards and the hosts were all out for 164 before a stunned Jamaican crowd.
England had opted to play the youth card by recalling 36-year-old Wayne Larkins and he had gone before stumps. The 'water cooler' chat the next day - although in 1990 it was still a 'kettle natter' - focused on how it was actually a 95 wicket and the tourists were facing another Blackwash.
However Illin Lim did what Illin Lim did and scored a century against the quicks; he put on 172 with another born and bred Englishman Robin Smith. The following day was just as remarkable as Malcolm and Gladstone Small combined to take seven wickets and the home side finished day three with a lead of only 29 and just two wickets left.
The Barmy Army would have drunk themselves into a stupour on the rest day (an exhibit of a rest day can now be seen in the MCC museum at Lord's) - had the Barmy Army been invented - then just to add an extra layer of tension as England contemplated their most remarkable victory since Botham's heroics in 1981, day four was washed out by rain.
But the sun was out on day five and it was Larkins who hit the winning runs to complete a memorable victory.
The first Test starts on the same Sabina Park ground on February 4 - we can only dream of a match of such drama.