Many people in the game have bemoaned the crippling loss of potential West Indies cricketers to more lucrative careers such as basketball and soccer in recent years.
But Richards, part of the 1975 and 1979 World Cup-winning sides, insists that success for Brian Lara's men will halt the slide.
"Fingers crossed," he said. "It can be a guiding light to give West Indies the negotiating power in the future, especially with all the new stadiums and the refurbishing of so many old grounds.
"In my day, we had a lot of guys who were very good bowlers, some of the best we've ever seen," said Richards.
"Things have changed but it's my belief that this team, with its ability at present, can go places. This present team does have it in them to go all the way."
Richards also shrugged off concerns over the readiness of some of the stadiums in the region where nine venues have either been built from new or refurbished.
He also pointed to the problems of London's Wembley stadium as proof that construction delays are not just exclusive to the Caribbean.
"We are very small environments," said Richards. "We've got to think a little bit bigger than the smallness that we are thinking at present. If we can accomplish these things, we are going to go places.
"Hosting anything of huge numbers, whether it's a party or a World Cup, you're going to get hiccups at some point. We are no different to any other."
Richards told www.cricinfo.com the fact that no host nation has ever won the World Cup will be an extra motivation for Lara's side.
"The World Cup means so much to us," Richards said. "I like to believe that the Caribbean is ready. Everything is looking in place and we have the stadiums for when the tournament begins.
"An extra motivational factor is that no country who has ever hosted the World Cup has won it, so that's something I'm very excited about.
"If it does happen, I can tell you, it's going to be one of the biggest parties ever. I think it could be classified up there with the best of our carnivals. In the Caribbean you'll see something different.
"I hope Brian Lara (playing in his last World Cup) gets a magnificent send-off," said Richards.
"It would be fitting because of all the trials and tribulations that he has had during his tenure as captain."
He also believes that there is no clear favourite for the title despite Australia going for a third successive crown.
"No team is going to win the World Cup by right," he added. "There's always an element of luck involved, in business or in sport. If you get the rub of the green, if you get the breaks, that helps to take you a long way."