For supporters of once-great sporting institutions like the San Francisco 49ers and Nottingham Forest, the past is another continent. Two centuries ago, when Samuel Johnson wrote that "distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye", he wasn't thinking of cricket in one of the empire's outposts. But even those like Michael Holding, the fast-bowling great who believes that sporting success and failure are cyclical, struggle to reconcile the glory that was West Indies cricket with its present incarnation.
Over the next month, India will go from one island to the other with what is effectively a B side. And when talk turns to the opportunities that the tour presents for those on the fringes, the old-timers will wince a little.
It was a little over two decades ago that a Test match against West Indies represented the ultimate sporting challenge. Forget staged reality-TV shows. If you want to know what makes a man a survivor, watch footage of cricket from the late 1970s and '80s.