Given the well-documented background, it is tempting to dismiss West Indies' triumph in the engrossing, fluctuating, nerve-wracking final Test over England as simply a one-off against opponents suddenly overtaken by internal problems that mirror their own.

After two decades of steady decline, West Indies remained entrenched at eighth in the official Test rankings entering the series; England were third. It was enough to prompt the scepticism.

The doubts have begun to perceptively fade over the past five weeks. This team's spirit in repeatedly fighting against tough situations that have overwhelmed others in the recent past have given new hope of a revival of fortunes.

There were several theories on what triggered it.

The assertion by Colin Graves, the incoming head of the ECB, that West Indies were "a mediocre team" certainly made West Indian blood boil.

It did mine; I can imagine how it played in the West Indies' dressing room. I wrote the day after that it was "denigrating disrespect", enough to provoke retaliation on the field, much as Tony Greig's infamous "grovel" taunt did to Clive Lloyd's team in 1976.

New head coach Phil Simmons used it to telling effect; England's captain Alastair Cook said that Graves had given West Indies a pre-series pep talk. At the same time, Simmons, for whom the result was an immediate fillip in his first series in charge, wisely warns against overblown expectations; his initial aim is for gradual improvement.

That one or other of the young brigade was to the fore in each daunting situation has afforded the series special significance.

Viv Richards recognised a kindred spirit in Jermaine Blackwood last October. Blackwood was an uncut diamond that just needed polishing, he said

When defeat seemed inevitable just after lunch on the final day of the first Test in Antigua, Jason Holder, 23 and in his fourth Test, held firm with captain Denesh Ramdin in a match-saving seventh-wicket partnership of 105. His unbeaten 103 displayed a level-headed temperament and true batting ability, unsurprising to those who oversaw his development in his native Barbados.

His leadership qualities were evident in his difficult role as West Indies' youngest captain in the ODIs in South Africa in January and the subsequent World Cup; his potential as a genuine allrounder confirms general belief in his long-term future in West Indies cricket.

In the second match in Grenada, Holder's 22-year-old club and Barbados team-mate, the tenacious opener Kraigg Brathwaite, carried the West Indies into the final day at 202 for 2 with the real possibility of another draw after conceding a daunting first-innings deficit of 165.

It required an exceptional spell of fast, accurate swing bowling by England's most prolific wicket-taker, James Anderson, to dislodge him for 116 next morning, his fourth Test hundred in less than a year, and open the way to victory.

Jamaican Jermaine Blackwood, 23, emerged as the third fledgling, a player with the distinctive flair on which the reputation of West Indies' batting was forged.

Viv Richards recognised a kindred spirit while manager of the West Indies A team in Sri Lanka last October. Blackwood was an uncut diamond that just needed polishing, he said.

He stroked his maiden hundred, 112 not out, in the first Test, his sixth, but the rough edges were evident in his liking for aerial shots and his sudden lapses into wild swings that twice cost him his wicket.

It was his Man-of-the-Match batting in the Barbados victory that validated Richards' judgement. On the second day, when a record 18 wickets tumbled, Blackwood's uninhibited 85, from 88 balls with four sixes and 11 fours, was a stunning example of exceptional dynamism. The next best score among the 17 other batsmen who were out was Shivnarine Chanderpaul's 25.

On the final day, he entered at Chanderpaul's dismissal seven balls after tea. At 80 for 4, West Indies were still 112 away from the 192 they required to level the series.

Darren Bravo, the obvious leader of the batting as Chanderpaul's two decades of unwavering reliability near the end that unavoidably comes to all over-40s, had already settled with 25 off 57 balls.

Now Blackwood's impetuosity arrived earlier than usual. Off his 19th ball, he charged at offspinner Joe Root, aiming somewhere in the direction of the Bridgetown port half-mile away, and missed.

Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler fluffed the stumping and, suitably alerted, Blackwood didn't venture into cloud cuckoo land again. He and Bravo carried West Indies to the edge of their famous victory with a partnership of 108, Blackwood finishing the match off with a signature shot, hoisting Moeen Ali over mid-on to the boundary.

The new found self-belief was best manifested in the partnership's rush to complete the assignment on the day. The dash began with 48 needed and paid no heed to the established tendency for late-order collapses (the last four wickets went down for 19 in the first innings of the first Test, the last seven for 33 and the last five for 15 in successive Tests in South Africa a few months earlier).

Now the sun was hot, the Englishmen were tired and frustrated and there for the taking. The two sprinted towards the line, arriving there by 5.35 pm, Bravo four runs short of seeing it through. The last 48 took just 34 balls.

It silenced the stunned Barmy Army and the hordes of other travelling England supporters in the stands and delighted the outnumbered locals who had waited too long for such a moment. They, like the players, are starting to believe again.

For all that, it is too far-fetched to imagine that West Indies will rapidly return to their glory days of the 1980s on such evidence. They may never.

There are still things to be fixed, such as pitches in regional first-class matches that favour spinners to the extent that there were eight among the ten leading wicket-takers in the 2014-15 season; it is a recurring theme.

In recent years, West Indies' results on the field mirrored and, to a large extent, have been caused by upheavals off it

In such an environment, the stock of genuine fast bowlers, for so long the life blood of West Indies cricket, has contracted. As many as 21 have been chosen since Courtney Walsh sent down his 30,019th and last delivery in Tests 15 years ago; of that lot, only Fidel Edwards (165), Kemar Roach (118) and Jerome Taylor (114) have taken more than 100 wickets.

Opening batsmen are so thin on the ground that 33-year-old Devon Smith (38 Tests, average 25) was picked for the first two Tests; when he was dropped for the last, Shai Hope, 21, a No. 4 for Barbados, was catapulted into his position as Brathwaite's partner.

The results on the field mirrored and, to a large extent, have been caused by upheavals off it.

The top players went on strike in 2009 for the second time in four years; the team withdrew from the scheduled tour of India last October, eliciting a claim for US$42 million in compensation for overall losses. Chris Gayle, the heavy-hitting opener and former captain, was suspended for more than a year over a row with head coach Ottis Gibson.

Over the last ten years, there have been four full-time Test captains, four head coaches and two assistants who temporarily filled the role, three board presidents elected amid controversy and conflict, and five chief executives.

Tour contracts have often been belatedly presented to the team; the failure of WICB operatives to obtain visas in time has recently denied a couple of players overseas Tests for which they were picked.

As always, the lucrative lure of the IPL, Australia's Big Bash League and the like dangles before receptive young players, forcing the board to put a "West Indies first" policy in place with the aim of making availability for international cricket a prerequisite for selection.

For the time being, though, Simmons, his charges and the passionate West Indies public can savour the unexpected success of their "mediocre" team.

Tony Cozier has written about and commentated on cricket in the Caribbean for 50 years