The national team open their Asian Sub Regional Qualifier campaign on Friday against Qatar as they bid to claim one of the three places that would see them advance to the next qualifying stage.
With hosts Kuwait, Maldives, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also in the mix, the UAE are strong favourites to win the competition considering they are the top-ranked side.
But, Brown has warned his players to not underestimate any of their opponents.
“We have just come back from a couple of tournaments (World Cricket League Division Two and World Cup Qualifier) where the form guide goes out of the window,” said the 48-year-old.
“What we need to do, is not worry about being favourites or not. We have to go out there and grab the game by the scruff of the neck in every match. That means we have to stay in the game and keep ahead of the game.
“We are a team on paper, will be the form team over there but ultimately if you don’t get your skills right and don’t commit as a team, you’ll end up falling short. It’s a global tournament and you can’t afford to go into the second or third game trying to win them. Every game we have to go out there and try and dominate and that that is what we’ll be trying to achieve.”
The UAE will be playing in the shortest format of the game for the first time in a year with their last T20 match coming in April 2017 when they defeated Papua New Guinea. Since then, they have been playing a majority of 50-over matches in the build-up to last month’s World Cup Qualifier.
But the players have stepped up their preparations in the recently-concluded T20 Inter-Emirate tournament and along with their familiarity with the shortest format, it bodes well for their chances in Kuwait City.
“Since I came over over here full-time, we have spent very little time playing T20 cricket,” said Brown.
“We have spent most of the time trying to get T20 cricket out of the players. It’s a format they play so much of and hopefully that will play into our hands a little bit but there’s a number of good teams that will be out there and try to beat us. We know that and we have to be on top of our game.”
Nawaz, 18, was skipper of the national team that reached the Youth Asia Cup last November after winning all four matches in the Western Region Qualifiers.
He scored two half-centuries in that competition and having continued to impress in the domestic circuit, the Emirates Cricket Board selectors rewarded him with a place in the 14-man squad for the Asian Sub Regional Qualifier in Kuwait.
The batsman faces a tough task in breaking into the starting 11 but says the call-up will be a learning curve.
“I am very happy and thankful to have been called up for the senior team,” he said. “This is like a dream come true for me.
“I was more surprised about being called up and I really cannot explain in words my happiness because that was my only goal in life and I am genuinely very happy.
“During the tournament, I want to keep challenging myself and learn how to adapt to different conditions, so this is another step towards that.
“It’s only going to put me in good stead and getting to understand how they play. It will be good for me to learn from the seniors.”
He added: “I’ve worked a lot on my batting and bowling skills and also my fitness. I have to thank Shahzad Altaf at Young Talent Cricket Academy for the great support.”
Head coach Dougie Brown says he’s been impressed by Nawaz and hinted more youngsters could follow in his footsteps for future matches and tournaments.
“Clearly he had a very good Under-19 Asia Cup and we know that he has been playing very well since he’s come back from there,” the 47-year-old said. “We think he’s a young talented player and with our next global tournament being the 2020 World Twenty, we see this tournament as a development opportunity for maybe a couple of players to get really valuable experience.”
The UAE will take on Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives and Saudi Arabia with the top three sides qualifying for the next stage of the tournament.
The national selectors have kept faith with the majority of the players from the World Cup Qualifiers with senior players Ahmed Raza and Shaiman Anwar rested for the tour.
Fahad Al Hashmi admits he must seize his ‘golden opportunity’ and prove the UAE selectors that he’s worthy of a recall when he lines up in the Emirates Cricket Board’s (ECB) men’s T20 National League.
Al Hashmi, 35, last played for the national team during the 2015 World Cup when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on his right knee during his side’s 146-run defeat to South Africa in New Zealand.
But the pacer, who continues to play domestically, has been given a boost after being named in Dubai Cricket Council’s squad that will compete in the inaugural ECB competition which begins later this month.
The tournament, which will see domestic and UAE cricketers play for their respective Cricket Councils – Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ajman – is a chance for the ECB to identify potential players for the national team.
It’s a possible route back for the UAE and Al Hashmi, who was one of two Emiratis in the World Cup squad along with skipper Mohammad Tauriq, is hoping to remind the country’s governing body of his talent that won him 21 international caps.
“This is a golden chance for me and am grateful that the Emirates Cricket Board have launched this tournament as it’s an opportunity for me to impress,” he said. “I now have to prove myself to them that I can play at the highest level.”
“I get the opportunity to play with the current international UAE players and I really think it will be a good experience me. I have to thank Dubai Cricket Council for giving me this chance and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
“I really feel that I’m playing well and having been picking up wickets for my club Farooq CC. This ECB tournament is a big competition for me and I really want to go out there and show what I can do. It’s a chance I want to take.”
Al Hashmi admits he does miss playing international cricket but hasn’t conceded that his chances of a recall are over.
“I still have a hope of representing my country,” said Al Hashmi, who was a member of the UAE squad which competed at the Indoor World Cup in Dubai last September. “I can do all the things that I did with the ball when I last played for the UAE at the 2015 World Cup.
“I keep in touch with the UAE players and (head coach) Dougie Brown. The team has been playing well and competition for places is tough but I’ll do my best in all the games I play to try and make this recall happen.”