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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Twenty20: Contrasting views
And so, the county cricket season is now upon us.

But many are already turning up their noses at the traditional four-day County Championship and are instead awaiting with eager excitement the start of the Twenty20 Cup in mid-June.

The teams will face just 20 overs per side and a series of gimmicks will have the purists gritting their teeth and some more avant-garde viewers expecting to be thoroughly entertained.

BBC Sport collected some positive views from two past England captains, Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart, while cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew gives a less charitable view.

Alec Stewart. England wicket-keeper/batsman. The most capped English player in one-day internationals with 170 appearances.

Alec Stewart
Stewart has a wealth of experience in one-day cricket

I had reservations about the Twenty20 Cup when I first heard about it but now I actually think it's a very good tournament.

It can further and improve our one-day international side because the boys will be learning to bowl at the death.

In 20-over cricket there will be a lot of death bowling which they can then translate into the 50-over game.

Batting-wise, they are going to be learning new shots and improvising much more.

In the longer game you wouldn't have to do that until the very end, here you are going to have to do it straight away.

Jonathan Agnew. BBC cricket correspondent. Three one-day internationals and Benson and Hedges Cup winner with Leicestershire in 1985.

Jonathan Agnew
Agnew: Not a fan of Twenty20

I will go along and have a look at the first game where they will have some karaoke on the sidelines as well.

The Twenty20 games will be a hit-and-giggle form of the game where everyone goes out wielding their bats.

From a cricketing point of view, it's completely useless. They are just trying to entice younger people into the grounds.

Most people accept our first-class game needs restructuring to make it better and if better players are playing it then people come and watch it and the product's better.

That's what they need to do. Rather than dress people up in funny clothes, wearing clown's noses, you just need to get them playing like David Gower and Viv Richards.

Graham Gooch. Essex coach. Former England captain, and second behind Stewart in one-day international appearances.

Graham Gooch
Goochie ridicules claims that Twenty20 cricket is a joke

It's not a bit of fun, it's not a joke. We are going to enjoy it, there's no two ways about it, but we're going to go out there and stuff the opposition.

The Twenty20 Cup is going to be a quick and exciting game. All aspects and disciplines of the game will have to be good.

I think there will be some positive things that can rub off on other forms of the game.

We will be going full on to try to win these games because we want to create a good atmosphere here.

It brings a new audience to the game and generates interest in Essex - people being entertained in the evening and late afternoon. That's the whole idea of it.

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