Middlesex's run to the T20 Finals last year was powered by a team spirit that comes partly from underdog status - with no "pros" or current internationals, little was expected of them. Things will be somewhat different in north London this season.
Izzy Westbury, who joined the county just last season, after finishing uni having being out of the top-level game for a couple of years, has been promoted to the captaincy; and has also joined the Middlesex CCC staff on a "nearly" full-time basis, as a coach working to promote girls' cricket in local schools. This doesn't quite make her a "pro" in the sense that the England players are; but she is now no longer an "am" either, and she'll have expectations to deal with that weren't there before.
Westbury has spent the winter out in Australia, where she has been working hard on her white ball action; and rumours are also rife that sports shops all over Oz have mysteriously sold out of headbands... but we can only speculate as to why...!!!
The Meatballs have also strengthened their batting by bringing in England's Fran Wilson. Wilson doesn't have an England "pro" contract but she's been a member of the squad for a while, and has played a handful of ODIs. She has been one of the most consistent performers in Division 2, playing for Somerset, where she has averaged around 40 the past two seasons; and she'll be hoping to step-up and make a play for a role in England's middle-order, as the selector's thoughts turn towards the Women's World Cup in 2017.