Rolph took over the captaincy from his brother Jackie Grant. Rolph and "Jackie" had two other brothers who played cricket but without the same level of success. Rolph had not always been picked for his university team, but he was a gifted sportsman being a national amateur footballer and being heavyweight boxing champion for his country. Later pundits put Rolph's selection as captain down clearly to his race. The selectors wanted a white captain and Rolph fitted that requirement.