Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 21-07-2011

Two new high definition (HD) channels are being launched in India this week by ESPN Star Sports to coincide with the opening Test match of the Indian cricket team’s tour of England.

The Test at Lords is the 2,000th Test match in history of the game, the 100th between the two sides and, as the organisers put it, “the start of a skirmish that has the world number one ranking at stake”.

It also sees Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar come to the match on a stunning 99 international hundreds. These factors are all likely drivers for a large audience share for the launch of Star Cricket HD.

Following the action in England, more cricket, in the form of the Champions League T20 tournament and India’s tour of Australia, will follow on Star Cricket HD.

Through July, ESPN HD will also broadcast the Hungarian Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix, GP2 Series and events including the US Senior Open Golf, and Major League Basketball. Then, in mid-August, the English Premier League ushers in a new season of football on ESPN HD.

"We see huge potential for the HD channels in India and have received a very positive and encouraging response from advertisers and platform operators,” said Manu Sawhney, managing director, ESPN Star Sports."We have a very exciting calendar of events ahead of us and with the launch of these two 24x7 high definition sports networks, Indian sports fans can look forward to a completely new way of enjoying sports.”