The Royal Gazette mastheadThey've got the pay packet they wanted - now it's time to deliver results.

That was the message from national coach Gus Logie yesterday as he and a 15-strong Bermuda squad departed on their five-week tour of southern Africa with the long-winded contract negotiations finally behind them.

The Bermuda Cricket Board and the players agreed terms on Monday after a seven-hour mediation led by lawyer Wendell Hollis, who was brought in to help bring the months-long impasse to a positive conclusion.

And though the BCB are still refusing to divulge the terms of the settlement, The Royal Gazette has learned that on top of having their work salaries covered, those players selected in the final World Cup squad stand to make at least $20,000 in match fees and bonuses - a deal which makes them easily the best-paid cricketers of any Associate member country.

Gus LogieAsked whether the lucrative pay deal would pile even more pressure on the players to perform, Logie insisted that they all understood their responsibilities and would be 'expected to meet them'.

'Getting the contracts sorted out was a big relief to me, the players and everybody else concerned,' said the Trinidadian. 'The negotiations went on for much longer than I would have liked but I guess that is part and parcel of the modern game. I personally do not know the extent of their remuneration, but whatever it is they will be expected to perform and to prepare themselves for the challenges ahead in a thoroughly professional manner.

'They will be scrutinised even more, particularly in terms of their fitness levels and I trust they understand what the stakes now are and that they are going to be properly prepared for what lies ahead.'

Pressed on whether he felt the contract wrangling was a significant distraction from their cricketing preparations, Logie was again candid.

'It obviously depended on the individual - a few of the players have been overseas (at the ICC Winter Training Camp in South Africa) concentrating solely on cricket - but I think for some of the players here who felt strongly about it it was a clear distraction, yes,' he said. 'But hopefully now they can put all that to the back of their minds and focus on what they have to do.'

The contracts issue, the expulsion from the squad of star seamer George O'Brien and the lack of match practice in recent months have all combined, Logie added, to make preparations far from ideal. But the former West Indies batsman and coach stressed nevertheless that he had done everything possible in the circumstances to get the players ready, while the arrival of Glamorgan's David Hemp had also provided fresh inspiration.

'Having Hemp here has been a big plus,' Logie said.

'The players have been able to watch and appreciate how, as a professional, he prepares and his dedication to getting the best out of himself. In an ideal world I think our preparation would have benefited from a few practice matches, but with no pitches available that has not been possible. But we have done the best we could given the conditions.

'There has been lots of conditioning work, nets practice and a big emphasis on mental preparation and tactics so once we get to Kenya we really should be able to hit the ground running.'

The absence of O'Brien - who despite his apparent lack of motivation and poor work ethic was still Bermuda's most successful bowler during the victorious Americas Championships in August - deprives the bowling attack of some much-needed cutting edge.

The likes of Kevin Hurdle, Ryan Steede and Saleem Mukuddem have all done a job for the team in the past, but none of them can boast O'Brien's penetration.

Logie conceded that the St. David's quick's wicket-taking ability would be missed, but added that he expected the rest of the bowling attack to raise their games.

'George was taking wickets and it is now up to the Hurdles, the Mukuddems, the Steedes and the (Stefan) Kellys to fill the void,' he said.

'I've said this before but one man's absence provides another with an opportunity and there is no doubt that there will now be a greater responsibility on those selected to produce the goods.'

Bermuda's first game in Kenya is on Sunday, when they take on the hosts in a must-win Intercontinental Cup game in Nairobi.