West Indies currently face a daunting prospect against England, resuming at Old Trafford today needing a further 432 runs with nine wickets standing to avoid a defeat that would put them 2-0 down with one Test remaining of the series.
Although debutant pace bowler Darren Sammy took seven wickets yesterday, his team mates produced a miserable display with a series of laughable misfields and dropped catches that brought howls of derision from the crowd.
For Richards, one of the finest batsmen to grace the game but also a devastating fielder, it was painful to watch.
''What we have witnessed here, the fielding, those elementary things, something is missing and you do worry and it does hurt,'' he told BBC Radio 5-Live.
''I agree (the desire is missing), maybe I could send out the rallying call.
''When you look at Dwayne Bravo, the way he enjoys his cricket, he could have been a part of what took place in the 70s and 80s and I wonder if he realises the job he is faced with of helping some of these guys to enjoy the game itself rather than looking so placid at times.
''West Indies cricket is about enjoyment and having fun but also being very successful.''
Terrible statistics: Richards knows all about success, having never lost a series during his 11 years and 50 Tests as captain from 1980 and the decline since those glory years has been nothing short of astonishing, particularly away from home.
Ignoring trips to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, West Indies have gone 16 series -- soon to become 17 -- over 12 years without winning an away series, the worst run of a major nation in Test history.
In 10 years of touring, they have won one overseas Test match -- during a 2000 3-1 series loss in England -- while suffering 42 defeats.
Richards said that he would love to try to help turn things round, even though in his former role as chairman of selectors he was criticised for being too hard on some players.
''I tried my best, I tried to identify the individuals who were not team players and by doing that maybe you upset someone in an island or he writes to the board saying 'he can't touch one of our guys','' he said ''But it is coming near breaking point. West Indies must think seriously what is most important -- is it people with their personal political agendas or the majority people who are supporters of cricket? ''I'd like to think it's the latter we've got to take care of.''