The Championship success of Simon Harmer and Kyle Abbott, and the concurrently touring South Africans, means that Kolpak has rarely been a hotter topic. There's one outstanding T20 cricketer, perhaps because he has been here a little longer and prefers the white ball to red (he will not play Championship next year), who flies a touch under the radar: Colin Ingram.

With centuries on consecutive Sundays, Ingram provided a reminder of why he is the best white-ball batsman in the county game. First there was a 46-ball effort against Sussex to trump Luke Wright, then his T20-best 114 from 55 balls in the last-ball win over Essex.

Don't forget that in the Royal London Cup this season he also made three centuries and averaged over 70. Glamorgan have themselves a gem; perhaps the IPL, where he has played just three games, and as long ago as 2011, will come calling once more.

He might be 31, and he might describe himself as "a journeyman," but he admitted upon signing a new Glamorgan contract earlier this season: "I'd like to get out there and experience what's on the world stage."


Noise is the answer for the Blast

The Blast is on notice. We know that in 2020, it will not be the premier T20 competition in the land. With funding, resources and exposure largely shifting to the as-yet-nameless Dream Competition, the Blast will have to find its place and relevance in the world.

It is worth looking at Old Trafford on Friday, where the Roses match drew the largest Blast attendance outside London. Before rain intervened to ruin a match in the balance, the Roses crowd was everything the Blast should aspire to be.

Such was the raucousness of the Roses match that conversation on comms turned to how it was much like a football crowd: loud, packed, partisan and boisterous. The Blast, of course, is not always - or even often - like this, and it is worth noting that another derby, Sussex and Hampshire's El Classicoast (excellently monikered but perhaps not well marketed?) drew a disappointing crowd at little Hove two nights earlier.

But a noisy, partisan response to the action should be the direction of travel for the Blast, just as tranquillity best suits the Championship. The new Dream Competition, like the very family-friendly crowds of the BBL, will hone in on attracting kids and new fans. Meanwhile the Blast already has supporters, and teams with history: it must play on this, pack fans in, charge their glasses, voice those loyalties and get the party started.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the two competitions can then co-exist harmoniously.


Middlesex still can't get it right

It seems curious, given their star-studded side and big name new coach in Daniel Vettori, that Middlesex have won just one game (and they made a mess of that one, too) and that the youngsters seem to be doing some heavy lifting. In the loss to Somerset on Sunday, Nos 3-6 all got in, then got out, with Eoin Morgan the worst offender, making 33 from 31, leaving the potentially destructive Ryan Higgins in a no-hope position.

One of those youngsters is the rather innocuous looking Nathan Sowter. His curious low leggies, all spindly variations, have proved expensive (8.73/over), but they get a wicket every 15 balls too. This was in evidence when he took 3 for 43 against Somerset.

Daniel Vettori has been a fan since long before he joined Middlesex, and tried to sign him for Brisbane Heat this year. Sowter is Sydney-born, but turned the offer down because it would have rendered him ineligible for Middlesex.


Tabraiz Shamsi: so very Northants

Northamptonshire have a way of doing things in T20, and it works. We know that by now. They look deep into the stats, then go low-key, high value and routinely pluck rabbits from hats. Moneyball, if that's what you want to call it.

So when Seekkuge Prasanna found himself back in the Sri Lankan fold, they turned to the South African left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi for three games. One of them was rained off, but Prasanna returned with a niggle, so Shamsi stayed for a third match of a highly-successful spell, anyway. Another left-field pick has gone right.

Having gone wicketless in the opening defeat to Derbyshire, Shamsi took 2 for 20 as Durham were strangled, then 2 for 24 to restrict Warwickshire to 156, a total Northants chased down off the final ball.

Shamsi's figures of 11-0-68-4 tell a tale and, judging by the joyous way in which he farewelled his new club on Twitter, he evidently made plenty of friends and fans. He leaves with Northants in fine shape (in the table, if not physically). Don't be surprised if he returns.


In Leicester, of all places, anything is possible

The sides leading the two Blast groups have a different look about them. We should not be surprised by Hampshire's ascension in the South. Having reached six straight Finals Days before missing out last year, they have a formidable T20 record, and have hardened up this year.

The retention of Shahid Afridi was curious, but Abbott and Rilee Rossouw bulk them up, Reece Topley is finally fit and Mason Crane is actually playing. They might just have Liam Dawson back from England soon, too. T20 nous, in James Vince, Michael Carberry and George Bailey, teems through the batting.

Also three from three, and atop the North Group, are the altogether more surprising Leicestershire. Theirs is, crucially, is a settled side (they have used just 11 players so far), with a well-travelled top order and a varied bowling attack.

Clint McKay, a canny appointment as captain, took the club's best T20 figures (5 for 11) as Worcestershire were swatted aside. In that game, Colin Ackermann made his second major unbeaten contribution in a chase (47 following 62 against Lancashire). Ackermann failed with the bat against Warwickshire on Sunday; never mind, he then took three for 21 to help defend 147.

They are nothing if not resourceful, and they know better than anyone, in the city where Leicester won the Premier League barely a year ago, that anything is possible.

Will Macpherson writes on cricket for the Guardian, ESPNcricinfo and All Out Cricket. @willis_macp